Houston, TX 77005
4:00 p.m. Thursday, March 7, 2013
On Campus | Alumni
Environmental and political issues created by our dependence on fossil fuels, such as global warming and national security, combined with diminishing petroleum resources are causing society to search for new renewable sources of energy and chemicals, and an important sustainable source of organic fuels, chemicals and materials is plant biomass.
We will show how H2 and CO2 can be produced by aqueous-phase reforming of oxygenated hydrocarbons derived from carbohydrates at low temperatures (e.g., 500 K) over supported metal catalysts, and we will address how the aqueous-phase reforming process can be carried out over bimetallic catalysts (e.g, PtRe) to produce C5 and C6 mono-functional hydrocarbons, such as carboxylic acids, alcohols, and ketones. We will show that the active sites on these bimetallic catalysts are bi-functional in nature, where the more reducible metal (Pt) catalyzes hydrogenation/dehydrogenation processes, and the more oxophilic metal (Re) provides hydroxyl groups that facilitate acid-catalyzed reactions. We will then present strategies for the catalytic conversion of the C5 and C6 sugars present in hemi-cellulose and cellulose, respectively.
We will address how the hemi-cellulose fraction of lignocellulosic biomass can be converted to furfural, furfuryl alcohol, and levulinic acid; and we will address how cellulose can be converted to hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and levulinic acid. Finally, we will present results for the catalytic conversion of levulinic acid to gamma-valerolactone (GVL). We will show how GVL can be converted to gasoline and jet fuel by catalytic decarboxylation to produce 1-butene, combined with alkene oligomerization, and we will show how GVL can be used as a solvent for biomass processing.
T.W. Leland Lecture in Chemical Engineering